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Repair of heritage elements on île Saint-Bernard: Ville de Châteauguay temporarily suspends work in order to protect the rich historic and prehistoric heritage of the site

Published on 29 April 2021

As of Thursday, April 29, Ville de Châteauguay is temporarily suspending the repair work on the heritage components of île Saint-Bernard to ensure the site’s archaeological wealth is fully preserved. During the suspension, the current excavations will be visually inspected to assess the impact of the work and determine whether further archaeological interventions are necessary in these areas.

Due to its significant archaeological potential, the île Saint-Bernard knoll requires special attention before the repairs are continued. This location is very significant for both our history and Indigenous culture. A tour of the site is planned for early May by archaeology technicians from the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, whose expertise offers valuable assistance for the project. Châteauguay is also in close contact with the ministère de la Culture et des Communications to ensure all actions comply with the measures in place.

The repair work will recommence once the analyses have been completed. For the success of the project, an archaeologist will stay onsite for the entire duration of the work, to oversee the excavations and ensure the preservation of the archaeological potential.

“It is important to carefully analyze the archaeological interventions required during the excavations on the île Saint-Bernard knoll. Digs conducted by the Université de Montréal a few years ago revealed enormous archaeological potential,” explained Luc L’Écuyer, Managing Director of Héritage Saint-Bernard.

“It’s crucial for the City to send people with the professional skills required to conduct the archaeological interventions properly and with respect for our ancestors and our neighbours in the Mohawk community of Kahnawake. That is an expression of the respect we have for the Mohawks,” said Châteauguay Mayor Pierre-Paul Routhier.

Minimization of archaeological impact

Since the work began last April 6, the operations have focused mainly on the mill, where the exterior masonry was completely overhauled, and the grotto, which had already been subject to reconstruction work in the past (the last major repairs were in 1985).

The repair of the heritage components of île Saint-Bernard is a $1.5 million project carried out in part thanks to the Fonds d’appui au rayonnement des régions from the ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation, as well as financial support from the Grey Nuns of Montréal. Ville de Châteauguay is covering nearly half of the cost. Héritage Saint-Bernard, acting as site manager, is collaborating on the project, as is the Société du Musée du Grand Châteauguay.

For more information on the project, please go to the “Past and Upcoming Major Projects” section of our website.

Download the press release in PDF format

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